Oh my goodness you guys. I have been DYING to tell you all about my favorite place in the Canadian Rockies. Picture the most beautiful place you’ve ever been… and then multiply it by a million.That my loves, is Peyto Lake. It is the most awe-inspiring, breathtaking, shockingly beautiful shade of blue I have ever seen. Have you seen the travel diary my hubby and I made of our honeymoon? Those first few seconds will show you our reaction to the stunning lake. On our hike back down, after we’d explored, every single person that was walking towards the lake for the first time had the exact same reaction. It truly is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Have I hyped it up enough yet? Probably. But I still haven’t even began to tell you about our time at Peyto Lake! So let’s get rolling.
We started our fourth day of our honeymoon SUPER early. Like had our alarm set for 4:30 early. All Trev kept saying was “This damn lake better be worth it.” HAHA. We gulped down our coffee and were on the road by 5:30. A word of advice? Be sure to fill up your gas tank the night before if you are staying in Canmore. Apparently, no gas stations open until 6:00 am. (No wonder everyone is happier in Canada!) So we drove to Banff and filled up there. Then, we were on our way! An hour and 40 minutes later, we were back up the Icefields Parkway and pulling into the Peyto Lake Parking lot.
We were THRILLED that we woke up so early. Because guess what? There was only two other cars there. We knew this meant we would have the lookout area almost completely to ourselves! We started hiking up towards the top. It’s a bit of a steep hike, but the trail is paved and well marked. It only takes about 10 minutes to get to the top.
I’m telling you right now, nothing can prepare you for what you are about to see. As soon as you come to the crest of the hill, you’re smacked in the face with that amazing blue. I remember just standing there staring with my mouth wide open for a solid 3 minutes. We headed over to the platform where there was only one little old man, who was seriously the cutest EVER. He laughed when he saw our faces, and knew we were “first timers”. He took a picture for us, and told us his secret favorite spots around the lake. Then he left, and we had the entire place to ourselves.
We headed back off the platform and to our left (right if you’re walking towards the platform) where you will see a small dirt trail. This will take you through a little patch of woods to the rocks that are under the platform. If you are there when there is a huge crowd… this will get you slightly away from them. It’s a perfect place to get that iconic Peyto Lake shot, climb on some rocks and even see some wildlife!
We hung out here for about a half hour before heading back towards the trail. We were in search of the perfect spot to hang our hammock. We followed the paved trail a ways, until it turned to dirt. We hiked up a little bit further and started to see a system of trails carving through the woods. So we picked one and started to wander. We are SO glad we did. We came out at this amazing rock pile with a seriously stunning view of the lake, and the Peyto Glacier. We continued past the rock pile until we found a perfect little spot to hang our hammock.
I could have spent days just sitting there staring out at that incredible view. It was truly perfect. Honestly, I have NO idea how long we sat there! We were so mesmerized by the lake, the sunshine on our faces, and the sounds of the birds that we just couldn’t bring ourselves to move. We didn’t even care that it was cold.
Finally, we decided we should head back towards the car. But not before we stopped to make a rock cairn at the rock pile. We were both pretty jealous that our cairn gets to live it’s entire life looking at that view. (Yes. We were jealous of rocks. If you’ve been there, you know why.)
We hiked back to the trail and finished the big loop that it makes. The main trail has signs all around it with nifty little Snapple facts for you, which is pretty cool! By the time we made it back to the lookout it was PACKED with people. Seriously. 4 tour buses and a full parking lot kind of full. We were so thankful that we woke up early to get there!
We hopped in our car and headed back towards Lake Louise. I had been on Groupon before we left for our trip and got a crazy good deal on the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola ride. (Always check Groupon before you go on a trip!) We had the option of open or closed Gondola. We chose open! It was a long ride to the top, and the ride was spectacular. Not only were we treated to mountain views, but we even saw a bear! Apparently, the Lake Louise Gondola is one of the best places to see a bear in the area. We enjoyed checking out Lake Louise from high above.
It started to rain so we headed back to our hotel to clean up and rest before dinner.
Dinner that night was at Bear Street Tavern in downtown Banff.
That is literally all you need to know. However, if you want a little more information, check out my previous blog post here!
So to sum it up…
1. You can’t live your life without visiting Peyto Lake at least once.
2. Wake up early when you do go there to beat the crowds.
3. Since you’re clearly in Banff to see the lake, go get life changing pizza at Bear Street Tavern.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is (probably) way too many pictures (that don’t even do it justice) of our day at Peyto Lake, because I honestly can’t choose only a few!
Next week, I’m talking about another one of my favorite places from our trip… Moraine Lake! You won’t want to miss it.